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terest of local antiquaries, and of stimulating their energies to
THE EARLY NORMAN CASTLES OF THE BRITISH ISLES With Plans by D. H. MONTGOMERIE, F.S.A., By ELLA S. ARMITAGE. Pp. i-xix, 408. (John Murray, 1912). 158. net.
THOSE who take an interest in the castle-mounds and the history of castle architecture in this country have in the above work a rich and ample storehouse of trustworthy materials to consult. A considerable portion of the valuable Catalogue raisonné of early Norman castles in England was printed some years ago in the English Historical Review, but it has been enlarged in this volume by the inclusion of five fresh castles and historical notes on 34 others,
thus bringing up the number to 84 castles, more or less fully discussed. The Welsh castles are given in a separate chapter. Useful plans and illustrations are furnished by Mr. Duncan H. Montgomerie, F.S.A.
Several chapters are added, the fruit of 11 years' careful and intelligent research (in the unpublished Pipe Rolls and other documentary evidence) in support of the writer's contention that the Motte-Castles throughout the British Islands are in every case of Norman origin; that the private castle in Britain only appears after the establishment of the Feudal System.
Mrs. Armitage shows, by a closely reasoned argument, the error of Mr. G. T. Clark's assertion that the "moated mound the Anglo-Saxon called a 'burh,' a Saxon Castle.
was what Accepting the classification of earthworks put forth by the Committee of the Congress of Archæological Societies, viz., (a) promontory or cliff forts, (b) hill forts, (c) rectangular forts, (d) moated hillocks, (e) moated hillocks, with courts attached, (f) banks and ditches surrounding homesteads, (g) manorial works, (h) fortified villages; the author deals with the earthworks in classes (d) and (e), i.e. moated hillocks.
These earthworks in their perfect form (e) consist where fully preserved, of (1) an artificial hillock, 20 to 100 feet high; with (2) a breastwork of earth carried round the top; (3) enclosing a small court, sometimes only 30 feet in diameter. A stockade of timber crowned the whole, and there would be included, as in the Bayeux Tapestries, a wooden tower. The hillock, round or oval, but occasionally square, is surrounded at the base by a ditch. Below the hillock is a court, much larger than the small space enclosed on the top of the mount, which has been surrounded by its own ditch, which joins the ditch of the mount and thus encloses the whole fortification. Certain variations are mentioned, but the feature contrasting these moated hillocks most strongly with the prehistoric "camps" is their comparatively small size, the greater number including in the whole area not more than 3 acres, and many of them not exceeding an acre and a half. Unlike the great camps of the tribal period, they were not designed to accommodate a mass of people with flocks and herds. Small in area as a whole, the citadel is very small indeed. The author quotes (and upon it founds an able argument) the luminous remark of Dr. Sophus Müller, the eminent Danish archæologist, that "the fortresses of prehistoric times are the defences of the community. Small castles for an individual and the warrior band belong to the Middle Ages."
The man who threw up earthworks with a hillock-citadel, it is pointed out, was not only suspicious of his neighbours, but even of his own garrison. The hillock in most cases was so constructed as to be capable of complete isolation and of defending itself, if necessary, against its own court. The earthworks themselves suggest that they are the work of an invader who employed
mercenaries instead of tribesmen, and had to maintain his settlement by force.
But why should not the invader be Saxon or Dane? The author answers this in Chapter II., showing that the Anglo-Saxon did not build castles. Their fortification were burhs, protective enclosures, fortified towns, designed for the community, not for the individual, corresponding to, but something more (as belonging to a more advanced state of society) than the prehistoric or British camp of refuge. They were towns where the people lived permanently or for daily work, and a fostering seat for trade and manufactures. The Danish camps, again, were without citadels, enclosures of large area, much resembling the larger Roman Castra, and like these frequently grew into towns, and they were emphatically the fortified places of the community.
In Chapter V., the origin of "private castles," the castle of the lord, not of the people, is discussed, the first instance on record belonging to the middle of the 10th century, coinciding in point of time with the introduction of the Feudal System. Chapter VI. treats of the distribution and characteristics of Motte-Castles (motte and bailey). Their position is different from that of prehistoric fortresses. They were almost invariably placed in arable country, not in isolated situations, but in the immediate neighbourhood of towns or villages. One rare instance to the contrary is that on the top of Hereford Beacon, probably constructed there by the Bishop of Hereford in the 13th century to protect his game from the Earl of Gloucester. They are found either on or near Roman or other ancient roads, or on navigable rivers. They were not dependent on a spring or stream of water, but had wells excavated in the mottes.
An interesting description (written c. 1194) of a castle in Flanders built in 1117 is quoted to show that these wooden castles were no mere rude sheds for temporary occupation, but were carefully built dwellings designed for permanent residence. Arnold, lord of Ardres, built on the motte of Ardres a wooden house, excelling all the houses of Flanders of that period both in material and in carpenter's work. The first storey was on the surface of the ground, where were cellars and granaries, and great boxes, tuns, casks, and other domestic utensils. In the storey above were the dwelling and common living rooms of the residents, in which were the larders, the rooms of the bakers and butlers, and the great chamber in which the lord and his wife slept. Adjoining this was a private room, the dormitory of the waiting maids and children. In the inner part of the great chamber was a certain private room, where at early dawn or in the evening or during sickness or at time of blood-letting, or for warming the maids and weaned children, they used to have a fire. . . . In the upper storey of the house were garret rooms, in which on the one side the sons (when they wished it), on the other side the daughters (because they were obliged) of the lord of the
house used to sleep. In this storey also the watchmen and the servants appointed to keep the house took their sleep at some time or other. High up on the east side of the house, in a convenient place was the chapel, which was made like unto the tabernacle of Solomon in its ceiling and painting. There were stairs and passages from storey to storey, from the house into the kitchen, from room to room, and again from the house into the loggia (logium), where they used to sit in conversation for recreation, and again from the loggia into the oratory."
Chapter VII. contains an excellent and compact description of the 84 castles built in England in the reigns of William I. and II. Of these 71 have or had mottes; 43 were attached to towns; less than one-third were placed inside Roman walls or Saxon or Danish earthworks of towns, and two-thirds wholly or partly outside these enclosures. The position outside the town indicates, according to the writer, the mistrust of the invader, not the confidence of a native prince. The early Norman castles were very small in area, suitable only for the personal defence of the chieftain with a small force, absolutely unsuitable for a people in the tribal state of development like the ancient Britons, or for a scheme of national defence inaugurated by Alfred and Edward. In this chapter are included descriptions of Abergavenny, Caerleon, Chepstow, Monmouth and Oswestry.
The Motte-castles in N. and S. Wales are described in Chapters VIII, and IX. This type of castle is as common in Wales as in England; in certain districts more so. They were not built, in the first instance, by native inhabitants, because they do not correspond to the state of society in Wales during the Anglo-Saxon period. They were built in furtherance of Norman William's policy of conquering Wales, of which castle-building was an essential feature. Later the Welsh themselves built castles in imitation of the Normans. They are of the Motte-and-bailey type, and prove the adoption by the Welsh of Norman customs. Out of 71 castles built by the Normans 53, or nearly three-fourths, still have mottes, while in the remaining eighteen, either the sites have been so altered as to destroy the original plan, or there is a probability that a motte has formerly existed. In the remaining chapters, instances in Scotland and Ireland are adduced, and an account is given of Keeps of the eleventh century, and those of Henry I. and Henry II.
This review (already lengthy) of a most interesting and suggestive work, admirably illustrated, must be brought to a close. We will only add that Hawarden had undoubtedly a very early castleHolywell (Haliwell) Castle was certainly not at Basingwerk, but on Castle Hill, if not on Pen y Ball (a suggestive name) just above the town. Dyserth Castle (on the old site) and Castleton, a motte.in the grounds of Wentloog Castle, may be added to the list of those not mentioned.
The ditch of Remmi or Remni Castle (p.297) is to be seen in the
grounds of Tredelerch House, on the left bank of the Rumney River, the passage of which it was probably built to guard. Lee (Isca Silurum) gives a sketch of some remains of the two towers of the Norman gateway at the base of the castle mound, Caerleon.
In page 19, Butan porte is not "outside the town" but "outside the gate" foris; p. 37 n., read mansuras; p. 86, Clwyd not Clwydd; p. 260, Aberlleiniog; p. 279, Trefdraeth.
THE HEART OF NORTHERN WALES, AS IT WAS AND AS IT IS
WE Congratulate Mr. Bezant Lowe most heartily on the excellent work which he has published on the Archæological and Historical features of the district between Aber and Abergele. He has wisely, in our opinion, resolved to abandon his earlier intention of re-editing Canon Williams' Aberconwy, and to bring out a new work, embodying in it the most important matter already given in the History of Aberconwy, but adding a large amount of fresh information and considerably enlarging the area of the country described.
One result is the valuable account, entirely new, well and fully illustrated, of the Pre-Roman Remains of the Uplands surrounding the heights of Tal y fan (hut circles, tumuli, cists, and encampments), which it is most important to have placed on permanent
In this portion of the volume, as well as in the other chapters, there is abundant evidence of most industrious and persevering research. There is, withal, a truly generous acknowledgment of the assistance received from a large body of voluntary workers. Amongst these, special mention should be made of Messrs. G. A. Humphreys, Roger Dawson, and Meredith J. Hughes, each most capable in their several departments. To the first-named we are indebted for several plans of hill fortresses, an account of the Old Architecture of Aberconwy, and the Decorative Plaster work of Plas Mawr, the Bronze Celts and Spearheads found in the district, and the early fonts of Llanrhychwyn, Llanelian, Llangelynin, St. Tudno.
Three chapters are given to the history of Deganwy and its castle, of Conway, the Abbey in its earlier and later situation, the notable persons connected with the old town (John Williams, Archbishop of York, Sir John Owen of Clenennau, Gibson the Sculptor), the Pearling industry, the Holland family.
Some of our readers will be much interested in the description of the Cerrig Saethau (Arrow-Stones) in the Anafon Valley. They are stones marked with grooves, varying from 3 to 10 in. in length, and corresponding with the size of an arrow-head. The length, in many cases, is sufficient for the play of a man's hand, while rubbing